Every three weeks since July 2017, I’ve been going to the hospital to get a treatment called TDM1. It is a form of chemotherapy that works like a Trojan horse along with something called Herceptin and is only available to women with Her2+ breast cancer (about 20% of cases). Herceptin binds to the Her2 receptor on the cancer cell and when this happens, the chemo is released into the cancer cell. This ensures that the chemo does not impact other healthy cells. If the Herceptin doesn’t bind, it gets metabolized and flushed out of the body along with the chemo.

Having been adamant that I would NEVER subject myself to chemotherapy treatment, it took a lot of consideration to say yes to this. Aside from having flu-like symptoms after the first treatment, I have not experienced any real side effects other than • a “resolution” of the cancer everywhere except the lungs • improvement in blood panel numbers • and an elimination of pain in the body.

It is necessary for me to get bloodwork done before each treatment and to have an ecogardiogram every couple months, as Herceptin can impact the heart, but aside from that, no real issues; haven’t lost my hair, no brain fog, no significant tiredness, etc. Of course, I continue to take a lot of natural supplements to support my general health and have many mental and spiritual health practices, which I am certain makes a tremendous difference.

This was a viable choice for me because the cancer had spread from my breast to many parts of my body — bones, liver, lungs, spine, lymphatics, etc. It was worse than it had ever been and I had already started experiencing paralysis in my right foot and leg as a result of the mass in my spine. My breathing was also being impacted and I could barely sleep at night because of the pain in my armpit radiating into my back. I felt that I had already tried most things that I could think of (and afford), considering every aspect or approach to “healing”, so the choice was evident to me. Not to mention, I just really felt so immensely tired of trying this and that, subjecting my body to all kinds of unusual and often times temporarily unpleasant protocols.

What has always been interesting to me about this treatment though, is that it was never offered to me before July (6 years after original diagnosis), despite being available and that I had refused other chemo. In fact, my oncologist had to make a SPECIAL request to his director to get approval for this treatment. Apparently, it is not protocol. One must first go through the standard treatment options (chemotherapy, radiation, hormone blocking drugs). Even then, it would normally take two other types of chemo before this would be offered (at least that is what my oncologist communicated). I asked why that was the case? Why subject people to all those intense side effects when something like this is available? His response was that in terms of life expectancy, the TDM1 underperformed (slightly). I don’t know about you, but personally, I would rather enjoy the years I had left in a generally healthy state, than spend my time in and out of a hospital suffering from all kinds of debilitating side-effects.

Ultimately, this share is to invite anyone facing a HER2+ breast cancer diagnosis that is going to chose allopathic treatment, to ask their oncologist about TDM1. It is likely this will not be offered to you, so I trust this will be helpful in knowing what is out there. If you have an oncologist that is completely closed, find another one! The first one I went to told me I would be dead in 5 years if I didn’t follow the prescribed protocol. Clearly, 7 years later that is simply not true, not to mention completely inappropriate.

Fortunately in my case, it has been a very successful treatment and there is tremendous gratitude in my heart for the opportunity to experience a renewed sense of life and energy again. And, I trust that there will come an end to this treatment in the near future as my body fully releases these little cells that got confused at some point along the way. Many thanks to the oncologist that had an open mind and willingness to support my path. And I offer gratitude every day to Great Spirit for this renewed life force that has transformed this body and continues to inspire my path forward in abundant health!!

“The only person who knows what’s best for YOU, is YOU!” – Bonnie Dean

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Bonnie's been fortunate to travel to many countries around the world (43 to be exact!). Whether backpacking or traveling with a little more comfort, her go to hostel/hotel booking sites are these ones.